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BIHL lets women run the show

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Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), the country’s principal diversified insurance and asset management group, has lined up all its most powerful positions with women, from Chief Executive to board chairperson, Business Trends has observed.

All indications are that starting next year, at least three most powerful and influential posts will be occupied by women. As a matter of fact, BIHL Chairperson is Batsho Dambe-Groth. As the BIHL Chairperson, Groth is the main lady when it comes to drafting, approval and execution of the group’s strategy.

BIHL is insurance and asset management behemoth. The company, which is owned in majority by Sanlam, is a market leader in many respects. Its wholly owned subsidiary – Botswana Life – controls more than 70 percent of the industry.

Come April 2016, current Botswana Life boss, Catherine Lesetedi-Letegele will walk across the block at Fairgrounds offices, to assume the BIHL top post on the other side.She will be replacing Malawian-man Gaffar Hassam. Hassam is leaving for a much more challenging and rewarding position as group executive at Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM). As BIHL boss, Letegele will most likely be the most powerful corporate lady in Botswana’s private sector.

Apart from the mouthwatering perks that come with the post, Letegele will be leading a BSE-quoted business, which has a market value of P4, 2 billion. The group is now 40 years old, and it has promised to continue to lead the pack.

BIHL has investments across the economy through its several subsidiaries. At BIFM, the group’s asset management subsidiary, Neo Bogatsu has just received the nod to lead the multibillion Pula Company. It is an early Christmas present for her. She assumed the top post on the 1st December 2015.

As the Chief Executive of this company, Bogatsu is the go to lady for above normal rate return on investments for products such as unit trusts, savings, assets management and capital market investments in the country.

Bogatsu will be heading a trailblazing business with asset under its management totaling P20, 5 billion as of June 2015. In yet another development, which will add to the growing list of women in top posts at BIHL and its subsidiaries, Bilkiss Moorad has been roped in to deputise outgoing Botswana Life boss, Letegele. The post is new at the company.

Moorad, an insurance stalwart is likely to head the company when Letelege bids the firm goodbye early next year, sources have said. Moorad is a former manager at Zurich Insurance company.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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